Fancy Dress Ball brings a sense of togetherness

From the plastic dinosaurs to the dance floor of the gym, there was something for everybody


Your co-editors-in-chief, Mary Alice Russell, ’22, (left) and Grace Mamon, ’22, (right) enjoyed Fancy Dress. Photo by Maria Shaw, ’22.

Mary Alice Russell

The moment my 3-inch heels hit the first step to enter Doremus Gym, I could feel myself becoming a part of Washington and Lee history. 

All 1,600 of us in attendance at Fancy Dress got to take part in the revival of the beloved tradition, which will hopefully thrive for years to come. 

For some, it felt like a movie. 

“Straight out of a movie,” Diya Shreenath, ’24, said. 

Like most students currently enrolled at Washington and Lee, this was Shreenath’s first Fancy Dress. 

Around three-quarters of Washington and Lee’s undergraduates had never experienced Fancy Dress and about half never got to have their senior prom due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“I am so happy we are actually doing it. It’s been three years, it’s actually happening,” Felicity Taylor, ’22, Fancy Dress co-chair, said right before heading to the event. 

For Taylor, planning for this event started pre-pandemic. “The theme, night at the museum, was actually my theme I thought of my freshman year when I joined the committee, so I’ve been so excited and I finally got to do it for myself,” Taylor said. 

Another Fancy Dress co-chair, Katherine Berman, ’22, said she was thrilled with how the event turned out.

“Since I planned it, I would definitely say it has met my expectations,” Berman said. “Everybody seems to be having a great time, and that’s all I could ask for.” 

On the dance floor and in the biergarten, everyone looked as though they were having the time of their lives. 

Smiling, laughing, singing, holding each other. It is hard to think that these little things were some of the biggest things we have learned to live without over the past few years. 

“I feel like the GAB concert without masks was truly the first student event that felt like it was 2019 again,” Katie Lydon ’22 said. “I don’t know, I had genuinely lost hope that Fancy Dress was going to be normal and happen, so it really does feel like it. I am really excited.”

Other students agreed.

“I think it has felt like school has gone back to normal since the mask mandate was lifted, and this was just the cherry on top,” Paul Pivirotto, ’23, said. 

Even with the excitement and desire to return to normal, COVID-19 is far from over. 

“I think we have to be careful when we think about things being normal because I mean, if you look at the numbers, they are going up again with all of the masks coming off,” Cate O’Kelly, ’22, said. I’ve loved having the mask off, but I think we just need to realize we are not through it yet and we just have to stick it out.” 

However, with dinosaurs and a fully vaccinated and boosted campus, Fancy Dress was a success in many people’s eyes. 

“Fancy Dress has exceeded my expectations,” Emma Callaghan, ’22, said. “I think that the decorations are beautiful. The people are beautiful. It’s excellent.” 

The seniors were especially glad to have one final Fancy Dress before graduating in May.

“It’s a great way to end the year,” Jack Null, ’22, said. 

As Fancy Dress and formal season comes to a close at Washington and Lee, the memories are just beginning to form. Embrace every moment.